# Teach me something new...

edited September 2020 in Random

Just throwing this out there as a group discussion idea...
From what I understand, a good Zettelkasten note should be written in a way that you could go back to that note a year later after completely forgetting about the content, and be able to understand what that note is about...
In my view that means your note should also be understandable (assuming they have enough context) by someone else.

To that end, I'd be intrigued to have a post where we can just post up a single zettel from our collection (assuming its not "private"), for everyone to see, along with the reference details if its needed. It might spark some curiosity in others, and give a good nugget of information for others to build something from.
I'd love to see it copied/pasted as it exists (with reference ID's, etc) as it would be interesting to see how other people format their notes, etc.

Of course there's no need to get involved if you don't want to, as I'm aware someones Zettelkasten can be a very private place. Just thought it might be a fun exercise...!

• I'll start with one I created earlier this year, whilst delving into the subject of learning as a meta-skill.

# 2020-3a4 Deliberate Practice
Tags: #LearningTechniques
Related notes:
- [[2020-3a Techniques for effective learning]]

- Purposeful and systematic

1. Practice, and analyse how you performed/reacted
2. Identify your weak areas, concentrate practice effort on those, trying to correct the errors found in step 1

Ensure during the practice phases, you apply learning techniques (if possible, sleep [[2020-3a3]] to solidify; try to recall using spaced repetition [[2020-3a1]]; Feynman technique [[2020-3a2]] to help incorporate into larger knowledge base and spot holes in knowledge)

• I'm such a sucker for glimpses into the working lives of others.

But I have to say, I would be most interested in seeing notes on topics other than those typically covered on the forum---especially the subjects of note-taking and Zettelkasten method.

To that end, here's one from my dissertation project:

# [[202003201636]] {2,4,b } Geographical knowledge in 19th-c America was communicated in works that did not clearly announce themselves as geography books
===
tags:
===
<- {2,4,a } Early US geography books were not primarily concerned with communicating geographical knowledge [[202002290921]]
===

Geographical interests in 19th-century America were often addressed and served by seemingly non-geographical texts---magazines, travel writing, poetry, novels.

Given that school geography books were most often occupied with matters other than the communication of geographical knowledge {2,4,a } [[202002290921]], seemingly non-geographical texts were actually _more_ geographical than books that announced themselves as geography books.

Importantly, such texts were often both _written and received as_ sources of geographical knowledge. In other words, they were _intentionally_ geographical, rather than _incidentally_ geographic.

QUESTION: What is the relationship between the civic function of many geography textbooks  in the US---for consolidating national identity---and the geographical functions imagined by writers like Brown, Fuller, Delany, and Dickinson? Aside from their ideas about how to do geography, what did they think geography was _for_?
- What geographical knowledge discursive and self-referential, in the sense that it
was "for" the work of correcting and replacing previous geographical knowledge?
- -> {2,1,a } Rationales for the production geographical knowledge have varied
greatly throughout history [[202008072320]]


Buuut, just for good measure, here's one on note-taking :

# [[202008281045]] {1,1,d } Using verb phrases in titles makes them dynamic and interesting, rather than static
===
tags: #titles #writingstrategy #resolution #noun #verb
===
<- [[201805071214]] {1,1,b } Elements become dynamic when networked
===

Using verb phrases in titles makes them dynamic, interesting, unresolved, and open, rather than static, closed, and seemingly resolved. The latter does not draw us in.

If a title is a noun phrase, it suggests that the contents are only a reproduction of the title, elaborated and expanded. As a result, it suggests that knowing the title is sufficient for knowing the content. For example:

- "Geography in Early America"

This title tells me nothing about the contents of the note. It does not prompt me to ask any questions, because it seems to be completely settled, static, completed, resolved.

Perhaps I could come up with a question about this phrase, if I really wanted to, if I were curious about the topic already---for example: "What is geography in America like?" But the title itself does not invite me in with the promise of something more than it contains in and of itself.

In contrast:

- "Geography in early America was diffuse and disorderly"

This immediately raises a question: "How so?"

Where the noun phrase seems static, settled, complete, and resolved, the verb phrase seems incomplete, insufficient, unsettled, unresolved; it therefore promises (correctly or not) that the contents of the note will provide resolution.

-> {1,1,e } Networking an element, verbing a noun, unresolves and suspends it, therefore making it interesting, by invoking a desire for resolution [[202008281142]]

• @sepuku Well, here's one of my "simple" ones that hopefully demonstrates being able to understand its contents without having the original context.

• Here's one from me:

Started ZK 4.2018. "The path is at your feet, see? Now carry on."

• Here is one from mine

• @Nick So wild, I was reading Blair's book about a month ago.

I hadn't come across the term "infoglut" before reading your note, only the phrase "information overload" (and "knowledge explosion," "flood of information," probably others).

Do you happen to know where the term comes from, or where it is generally used? (I don't think Blair uses it, does she?)

• edited September 2020

@argonsnorts I believe it comes from this book, I think I got it from an interview, not sure which Infoglut: How Too Much Information Is Changing the Way We Think and Know. Its the idea that we have an excess of information floating around in society.

• I love this sharing. Here's my contribution.

Will Simpson
I'm a futzing, second-guessing, backtracking, compulsive oversharing, ZK-maniac, in other words, your typical zettelnant.
Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing, Cognitive Workload, Python, Data Science
kestrelcreek.com

• Although this is not the purpose of the thread, it has helped to understand why spaced repitition can be useful for Zettelkasten:

It’s important to look back at your notes randomly because you’re likely to come across notes you’ve long forgotten about. If the note isn’t clear enough, you won’t understand exactly what it’s all about, so you need to research the links and clarify the note by placing links and refining the text, making your entire collection of notes more usable, stable.

• @bimlas I think this is exactly the purpose of this thread

@Nick said:
your note should also be understandable (assuming they have enough context) by someone else

When reading past notes, you are someone else, in a very real sense, compared to the person who wrote the note.

• Couldn't resist to expand on the topic @Will posted with a somewhat related note of my own

Author at Zettelkasten.de • https://christiantietze.de/

• Here's mine.

• @bimlas said:
Although this is not the purpose of the thread, it has helped to understand why spaced repitition can be useful for Zettelkasten:

It’s important to look back at your notes randomly because you’re likely to come across notes you’ve long forgotten about. If the note isn’t clear enough, you won’t understand exactly what it’s all about, so you need to research the links and clarify the note by placing links and refining the text, making your entire collection of notes more usable, stable.

Looking back randomly at your notes is not what is usually meant by spaced repetition. Spaced repetition uses a structured time frame for a repeated review. Different than what has happened so far on this thread.

@bimlas you bring up a great point though, looking back and reviewing, however it gets stimulated is a wonderful practice. My eyes were opened up looking for a zettel to share. I looked at maybe eight before I settled on the one I shared. Each time I'd spend time reading, editing, adding a few links, checking spelling and grammar, prettying up the formating before I'd find some reason why I thought this particular zettel wasn't worth sharing and move on to another. This is a great exercise.

I confess not wanting to embarrass myself, I cherry-picked the zettel I shared. All others I looked at I didn't think were snappy enough for this tough crowd of super-smart people. For me, this is like Instagram for zettel.

Will Simpson
I'm a futzing, second-guessing, backtracking, compulsive oversharing, ZK-maniac, in other words, your typical zettelnant.
Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing, Cognitive Workload, Python, Data Science
kestrelcreek.com

• edited September 2020

@sepuku - thank you for starting this thread. I've really enjoyed the examples and read through them carefully, trying to understand how other people craft their Zettels.

However, I have a question (which is really associated with an admission of my ignorance in so many fields of knowledge with which I am not familiar). I can understand and appreciate how a particular Zettel is structured, but if I really don't have a clue about what it means, is it really written in a clear manner, independent of context? And, I would add, independent of terminology peculiar to the writers chosen vocation or area of study?

I was hoping that at some point I could turn my Zettel over to one or several of my grandkids. But if most of my Zettels are obscure, that won't be such a successful strategy, will it?

• edited September 2020

@Will said:
I confess not wanting to embarrass myself, I cherry-picked the zettel I shared. All others I looked at I didn't think were snappy enough for this tough crowd of super-smart people. For me, this is like Instagram for zettel.

I don’t see this as a problem. I’m glad the thread has triggered the improvement of some of your other zettels. I’m trying to learn this system, and getting ideas from how other people work with theirs, is so interesting to me. How they are formatted, how you use links, how to create UID’s, the formats of the UID’s, etc, and the fact that you’ve gone to make improvements to zettels that you didn’t end up posting shoes that this is a truly loving and breathing documentation method, which is exactly the type that I like. That which can be improved upon 6 months later.

@GeoEng51 said:
I was hoping that at some point I could turn my Zettel over to one or several of my grandkids. But if most of my Zettels are obscure, that won't be such a successful strategy, will it?

No problem for starting the thread! As @argonsnorts said, I’m a sucker for seeing how other people do things too, so it was mostly for selfish reasons anyway! I just figured it might spark some interest in a subject that people haven’t delved (dove? Doven?) into yet, and if that triggered a new area of interest, or put someone’s zettel to the test of “be understandable by a complete stranger”, then there’s benefits for doing it outside of me just trying to learn the craft.
I guess I was after seeing how seasoned Zettler’s worked their system.

I’ve been keen on the idea of my own Zettelkasten though, not just for my own knowledge management, but to try and teach the method to my own kids, so they can start off young(er) with it. I would love to have known about this technique when I was 20 as opposed to 39... but better late than never...
If they end up going to university (they are 4, 4, and 6 currently), this would give them a great starting place for research into their subject. And even if they don’t, even just as an idea machine it’s a game changer in my view.

Maybe the approach for you would be to teach them the skill and give them the tools to get them going with it? I’d love to actually be able to work with sometime who’s learning the ropes too, so I can discuss what’s worked and what hasn’t.

In case you didn’t notice, I love learning something from other people

• @sepuku said:
I’ve been keen on the idea of my own Zettelkasten though, not just for my own knowledge management, but to try and teach the method to my own kids, so they can start off young(er) with it. I would love to have known about this technique when I was 20 as opposed to 39... but better late than never...
If they end up going to university (they are 4, 4, and 6 currently), this would give them a great starting place for research into their subject. And even if they don’t, even just as an idea machine it’s a game-changer in my view.

Maybe the approach for you would be to teach them the skill and give them the tools to get them going with it? I’d love to actually be able to work with sometimes who’s learning the ropes too, so I can discuss what’s worked and what hasn’t.

My oldest will be 43 this year and youngest will be 31 in a few weeks -- so I have a few years on you :>) But interestingly, she was peeking over my shoulder a month ago, got excited and dove into the Zettelkasten world. She immediately read Sonke Ahrens' book (on Smart Notes) and perused articles on this web site, and is now an avid "Zettelkastener". She has a degree in engineering physics, is currently tutoring about 20 students in high school math, physics and chemistry, and preparing to be a full-time high school teacher. Oh - she's also homeschooling her 2 youngest children and keeping her 2 other kids in high school in balance. You'd wonder where she finds the time to write Zettels, but she's incorporated that into her study habits.

Another daughter is a fiction writer and I'm working on getting her interested in ZK. I convinced her of the utility of Scrivener as a writing tool, so I have some currency in the advice bank with her and might get her going on a Zettelkasten, yet.

As far as the rest of my kids and grandkids go, we'll see; I'll continue sharing the method with them.

My main ZK goal is to create a body of knowledge, consisting of personal memories, family history events, and personal "life lessons learned", that I could pass on to them in an understandable and accessible form. That desire has a huge impact on how I write Zettels - to make them as clear and non-technical (or at least without jargon) as possible. It also has an impact on what I include in my ZK, although I am not exclusive by any means. I add whatever interests me, but the entries tend to be skewed a bit towards the areas mentioned above.

I read a lot of Hemingway stories when I was younger and really admire his writing style. He was a minimalist; he spent many hours saying the most with an economy of words. I don't agonize over my Zettels like he did his writing, but his style is instructive for those of us who want to be concise and clear.

Good luck with getting your kids going on a ZK - that would be a real gift for them! I'd be happy to keep talking about ZK experiences with our kids. I believe we can message each other privately through this forum without over-taxing our colleagues. Feel free to do so. We could also hook up via e-mail.

• edited September 2020

This is such a great idea for a thread!

Here is my note:

Probabilistic constellation shaping and optical phase conjugation can be effectively combined

As in [yankovExperimentalComparisonProbabilistic2018].

In [hansenNoiseStatisticsIts2020], it was demonstrated that [[Constellation shaping for nonlinear channels can reduce nonlinear effects]], yet, [[Maxwell-Boltzmann shaping is sufficient for channels with inline-OPC]] even though [[Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution is near optimal constellation shaping for AWGN channels]].

Picked a few at random, but this is the one I think represents the most useful notes in my collection: highly connected, citations where applicable and it represents a relationship and not just a single concept.

• @sepuku et alia:

This is such a great idea for a thread!
How do we keep it going?

Here is my second example from my current processing of Environmental and nature writing: a writer's guide and anthology

Will Simpson
I'm a futzing, second-guessing, backtracking, compulsive oversharing, ZK-maniac, in other words, your typical zettelnant.
Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing, Cognitive Workload, Python, Data Science
kestrelcreek.com

• Here's one thats a WIP...
This is purely an area of interest, so definitely not an expert in this area at all!
I think I've got the content right in here, but there is still some research to be done, so if anyone is a theoretical physicist and can see I've got a glaring error, by all means correct me!

# Black Holes
Tags: #Todo #Physics #Astrophysics
Related notes:

A black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light can’t escape. The point at which light is pulled into the black hole instead of being able to orbit/escape, is called the Event Horizon.

There are (currently) four categories of black holes:

1. Miniature BH (theoretical)
2. Stellar-mass BH
3. Intermediate-mass BH (theoretical, but theres evidence to suggest they exist. Anything above ~60 solar masses, to ~140 solar masses are formed by other merging black holes of smaller masses - NEED TO CONFIRM, HEARD THIS ON THE *Physics World Weekly* PODCAST, episode from 20200903) #Confirm
4. Super-massive BH (centre of galaxies)

How do they form?

Miniature BH
- Theoretically exist, so we don't know currently, but there's theories that they formed in the very early universe shortly after the Big Bang
Stellar-mass BH
- From dying stars roughly 3x as massive as the Sun, going Supernova. Won't always happen, but can do. Sometimes the other potential outcome from this is a Neutron Star
Intermediate-mass BH
- #Confirm
Super-massive BH
-  Exist at the middle of every galaxy, most likely formed from the merging of multiple smaller black holes, but NEED TO CONFIRM) #Confirm

? - Is this a point of infinite density? NEED TO CONFIRM THIS #Confirm
? - IMBH - why above ~60 solar masses that was mentioned on the podcast? Whats special about ~60 solar masses? And at what point does it become a super massive BH?
? - If light cant escape the gravitational pull of a BH, does that mean that everything falling into a BH is travelling faster than the speed of light? I thought the laws of phsyics of our universe made this impossible? Is this only possible under certain circumstances? Is "inside the event horizon" not considered a part of our universe, and therefore the same rules don't apply? Or, is this what they mean when they say "The laws of physics break down inside a black hole"?